I am going to attempt to show an analogy...brace yourselves. I am a late owl...I might have mentioned this a few times before in my blogs. Now, if you've ever eaten very, very late (I do all the time)...and have been starving for hours, when you finally do eat...your ravenous appetite usually belies whatever you are eating and everything usually tastes remarkably delicious. In this same way, when you are up very, very late...everything gets funnier...I think the brain kicks it down a notch with the IQ points and you get a little drunk off the effect...if you've ever been drunk...things people say are funnier...unless you are male and in a bar...then apparently they tend to make you fight. But that part's not really part of the analogy...so you can disregard that. The point I'm FINALLY making is that, usually, when I'm up and it's late...things that aren't inherently funny...suddenly are fodder for all sorts of things. Just ask my son...we love to stay up, watch bad flicks and "MST3K" them. We are sheer comic geniuses. Trust me.
One would figure, given this adage, that anything I watch at 4:00 in the morning would be hilarious...or at least slightly amusing, right? Think again. I wasn't into putting on a Netflix DVD of MillenniuM (I am determined to watch every spin-off of The X-Files)...so I decided to flip thru the channels to see what was on. If you've ever been up at 4:00 in the morning...there's really not much choice other than infomercials and old films. I have absolutely no problem with old films...there just wasn't one on I wanted to catch...and I have an extreme aversion to infomercials. Not everyone with a fake British accent is an expert...altho they'd have you believing it's so. Ironic that I'd end up watching the BBC America channel, after that comment, but I did. I hit the guide and it showed "game show" for a program on titled "Without Prejudice?"...given the fact I've seen British game shows before...they are usually much fun indeed. So are the ones on the Spanish channel (complete with donkey and confetti)...and any Korean one I've seen...but that's neither here nor there...so I switched the channel to watch it.
The premise of this show, which ended up not really being a game show...but more like one of those reality shows where they vote people off...in fact this was precisely the case. They had a panel of five people and then they had six contestants...a female host presided over the whole affair. The object of the "game" was each one of the people would be voted off systematically until the final person was left to claim the prize of £20,000...roughly $40,000. How they did this all was the catch. I decided that they had indeed baited me enough and I was temporarily hooked.
How did they plan to crush each person's hopes and dreams, one by one? I'm glad I asked. They planned to do it by cunning...they planned to do it by methodic rationalization...they planned to do it basically based on looks alone.
First up they get each to tell a little about themselves...about 45 seconds of "impress the would-be dater who's watching this"-type of introduction. Then they had each member of the panel of judges explain who they wanted to shelve and why. One did indeed state that the bald-headed man she (a British transgender journalist named Sasha) was choosing to vote off was based solely on the fact that he wasn't "naturally" bald and had purposely shaved his head...and she believed that everyone who did this type of thing were of the "supremacist" mentality. Hmmm...and all the while I thought this gameshow was going to be about the contestant's prejudicial thoughts...boy was I wrong. The contestant with the most votes would be made to face the judges and tell a little more about himself and what they ultimately planned to do with the money, had they won it. This man, who looked to be in his early 40s, stated that he wanted to give a portion to his friend for some reason and had hoped to kick-start his lagging career as an offshore fisherman...possibly having enough left over to buy his own boat and make an honest living. The judges, especially Sasha, were utterly ashamed of what they did...hung their heads in desperation and shook them in total disapproval of their actions. They had just judged a person based on looks alone...even tho they had all heard that old adage..."never to judge a book by its cover".
Next up...a little more detail...cameras rolling on the individual contestants...their trying to win the panel over by sucrose-coating their growing up periods. One woman, named Geo, irked me from the start. Why? Solely based on my discriminatory hatred of her...but it was purely based on a very good principle...she was stating her father was some grand astrophysicist or something...and her mother held some other job that surely paid the bills...and she was always jet-hopping back and forth from their posh "north England" 10,000 idyllic farm to their lavish Miami Beach home. Then on top of it, her husband was an architect. Oh...she really needed the money, huh? C'mon...give it to someone who scrapes bottom from the get-go...give it to the deserving. You, my dear...aren't. So...if it were up to me...she would have been sent home packing...her Louis Vuitton luggage. I sat and waited...in mild anticipation (this show wasn't doing it for me...even given the late hour)...for them to draw the same conclusion as I did. And I was appalled! Sasha and the annoying git of a woman next to her (yes, I am going to toss out as many British words as I can think of)...the one with the multi-coloured spiked hair (I have spiked hair...I can talk) were on her side...they loved her! So...they voted someone else off. I forget which...the impression they forged in my brain...well, just wasn't very ironclad after all.
Work & Education: Well...lookie here...seems a few contestants have some issues..."I don't like kids...when I have to hold one, I'll do it for a while...but can't wait to give them back...I'm really selfish, really"...said one...to which the clean-cut young panelist remarked "she was very selfish and looked like an Oompa-Loompa" because, I figure, she was short and quite busty...and a tad overweight. Everyone let out a collective groan...in unison. But...he didn't mean it THAT way...or did he? Hmmm....prejudice again, huh? Next up: He's an accountant by day...a competitive body-builder by night! Well, Sasha is impressed...so are a couple others...but one or two think he's really self-centered...and how could he describe himself as "shy" in the earlier interview...he's only wearing a Speedo, for heaven's sake! Geo continues to annoy me...she needs to be voted off...NOW! My wish is about to get granted...I am doing well...I feel like I'm watching the Miss Universe Pageant...but as with that one...I know I'm just going to get disappointed at the end. I rather like the guy who has tried his hand at lots of jobs but keeps failing, the best...plus he likes to cook for his friends...fate has certainly dealt this man a raw deal. This poor guy needs a break...or at least his on-camera persona leads me to believe.
Now here's where they get creative...they have, unbeknownst to the remaining three, placed a hidden camera in a room where they are filling out some forms. Of course they are set up individually...with the same set up each time. A group of actors are also filling out forms, making small talk with the contestant, when in comes another actor who happens to be a dwarf...who states that he hopes to get in the final mix as he really needs the money. He then walks out...and the sting goes into full force...the actors crack some "short jokes"...remarking "do you think if he wins they'll only pay him half??" The "selfish" woman says a few things that aren't very glowing...the body-builder chuckles a bit but gets back to pen and paper straight away...but to my chagrin "my" favourite doesn't even wait for the joke to be made...in fact he hardly waits for the door to close...jumping at the opportunity to make short jokes and a belittling line of others based on a full five-second encounter. A five-second encounter, which was, by the way, very congenial...he even ta-ta'd the man with a good-luck wave. My hopeful candidate is quite obnoxious...when the cameras aren't rolling he sure shows his true self...and contrary to his outward appearance, it's not very pretty.
All are quite taken aback...they are aghast...how could ANYONE be so horrid...and most annoying...how could they have gotten THIS far beguiling me? They are all in contention this time around...this man is history...and let's hear what he has to say for himself once we march him out in front for all to see. He, true to his nature, defends his actions and is offended they would take offense. He mutters some "you'll get your comeuppance"-type of nonsense before he leaves the stage...everyone realizing that you can indeed be duped and charmed...and all in the span of one hour.
Showdown time...a face-to-face meeting of the last two standing...where the panelists get to ask some questions point-blank to the contestant and the contestant, in turn, gets to hypothetically vote one of the judging elite off. First up...the "selfish" lady who was likened by the one judge to an Oompa Loompa. Hey, what do you know...she's nice...she puts up a front because she doesn't want to show how vulnerable she really is. The panelist she'd axe is the woman who has remained the most quiet...and she justifies herself by stating it's "only because she was the least vocal" and as such was wondering what was really on her mind...whereas the others "you kinda knew what they were thinking already". Sounded quite plausible...and didn't deride her or any of the others. The body-builder makes his entrance...his quiet mannerism is an indication that he was indeed shy all along. He doesn't come across very well...isn't spontaneous like the previous woman...and refuses to "vote anyone off" as he doesn't want to "hurt anyone's feelings". The writing is on the wall...he just isn't as open as his rival...he's not as friendly...he's too introspective...so he must be hiding something...she wasn't...therefore she's more trustworthy...a fate, ironically, she just doled out to a panelist only minutes before is the same that ultimately doomed the man..."just too quiet."
Now comes the part where they tell each the news...and it's also time to confront each about what they would have used the money to buy. The accountant/body-builder guy? Well...apparently he really didn't leave much of an impression on me either...or he was indeed too quiet...I don't even remember what he planned to use his money for had he won. The "selfish"...or should I say "newly redeemed selfish" woman wanted to use it to pay some bills and for breast reduction. Upon hearing that, the judges simultaneously remember the mean-spirited words of the young male panelist...and smile little awkward smiles that the winner won't "get" until she watches the taping later. Will those comments bother her? Well...she did also "get" £20,000...you be the judge.
A Bit About Me
- Mariann Simms
- Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".